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As Wichita State grad student Sai Karthik Garnepudi watched the Wichita State University Cricket Club grow in these past several years, the lack of a convenient place to play has limited
its potential. 

That will change soon with the opening of a field at Dr. Glen Dey Park, located about
two miles from campus, at 2801 N. Grove. The club held a groundbreaking in April and
its opening ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 17. Garnepudi, who is working on
his doctoral degree in cybersecurity, said he hopes to hold matches starting this
month. 

“(Now) we are a step ahead,” he said. “I see cricket growing over the years here.” 

The club — which has existed in some form at WSU for about 30 years — consists of
around 100 members, up significantly from 2018, when Garnepudi took over as president.
Six years ago, it was often difficult to get the 11 people on a side needed to play.  

The club previously practiced and played at Planeview Park, 2819 Fees St., almost
six miles from campus. The distance made gathering a team for practice challenging,
and they shared the field with other clubs. 

“A lot of students don’t have rides,” Garnepudi said. “There were days when I would
drop off five and go pick up another five. That is why I reached out to WSU and pitched
them the idea: ‘Why don’t we have a field closer to WSU?’” 

Garnepudi started the project last fall with WSU Campus Recreation and Wichita Park
& Recreation Director Troy Houtman. Campus Recreation paid for the concrete pad at
the new field. Cricket is played on a circular area and requires a diameter of roughly
150 yards. 

“(Dey) Park made it biking distance, walking distance,” said John Lee, director of
Campus Recreation. “It’s never been a reasonable distance to campus, and that’s what
makes this exciting for them.”

Garnepudi said prospective students contact him with questions about Wichita State’s
cricket culture. The availability of the sport is something that factors into the
decision when students from countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh
are choosing a university. 

He also expects the Cricket World Cup to boost interest in the sport in the United
States this June. The United States will play in the field for the first time and
matches are scheduled in Lauderhill, Florida, East Meadow, New York and Grand Prairie,
Texas. 

“For international students, this is a very big advantage for WSU,” Garnepudi said.
“People reach out to me and say, ‘Do you really have a cricket field?’ We have our
own field. We have a club. We play professional cricket. We play in a league.” 

WSU’s club practices on Friday and plays matches on the weekend. The league includes
teams from Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Bentonville, Ark. 

“We always try to have a variety of sports that fit our students’ needs,” Lee said.
“Cricket, for many of them, it’s part of their culture. It’s a leisurely game. There’s
a lot of camaraderie that happens. You get to talk. You get to enjoy each other’s
company.” 

 

For information on the WSU Cricket Club, email Sai Karthik Garnepudi

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